Sunday, December 5, 2021
Dec. 5, 2021

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Vancouver trooper earns honor for aiding officer


A Washington State Patrol trooper has earned Portland’s Police Medal for helping an officer apprehend a man who had attacked her on a Portland street in March.

Gordon Gruendell, a commercial vehicle enforcement officer in Vancouver, and civilian James Daw helped detain a man who had been attacking Portland Police Officer Allison Lance.

On March 16, Lance was attacked after checking on a man walking along a street in Northeast Portland. The man ran at her, and then repeatedly punched her in the face, according to a press release announcing the award. The honor recognizes “exceptional courage beyond that of normal service.”

Daw arrived first, stopping to help after witnessing the attack while driving. He helped pull the man off of Lance, who had unsuccessfully used a taser weapon. Gruendell was driving north on Martin Luther King Boulevard when traffic slowed to a near stop. He pulled up next to Lance’s police car and saw her attacker . He was “yelling and obviously … not appreciative of the situation,” he said by phone Friday. “I saw the officer standing right behind him, her face is bleeding.”

Gruendell said he tackled the man who had attacked Lance after she made another unsuccessful pass with her taser. Daw jumped on, too.

“Within moments, the cavalry arrived,” Gruendell said.

Portland officials said during a Jan. 26 award ceremony that Gruendell and Daw put themselves in “serious danger” by helping Lance.

“I’m very glad that Officer Lance is OK, and pleased that one of our troopers was able to assist,” Washington State Patrol Chief John R. Batiste said in a news release. “I am certain that any of Portland’s officers would have done the same if the situation had been reversed.”

Gruendell said he exchanged a couple e-mails with Lance after the attack and said she “seemed to be no worse for the wear.”

“If I was working and on the job, it would have never turned into this,” Gruendell said. “Since I was off-duty, it turned into a lot of fanfare, I guess.”

He said there were about 100 awards handed out at the ceremony.

“It was definitely humbling to be a part of that,” Gruendell said.